The PTO and PTA Leaders group on Facebook is growing up! We just passed the 16,000-member mark, and we want to give a big shout-out to all the folks who contribute to the group and make it such a great resource for PTOs and PTAs across the country.

Because it’s such a key resource for so many of you, we want to make sure we our doing our best to ensure that it’s the place where you can go to hang out with your peers, share ideas, and easily find the best advice and tips you need. So we make tweaks to the rules and functionality as needed, and we have some updates to share.

Vendor Reviews

Many of you come to the group looking for vendor recommendations or to share your experiences with vendors, and these posts are very helpful for the community. But we’ve realized Facebook isn’t the best place for them. Because of the nature of Facebook groups (especially one like ours that can have more than 100 posts a day), these posts get lost in the constant flow of new posts. Plus, as many of you have experienced, the search capability in the group can be finicky.

Recently, we rolled out an updated Vendor Directory on the PTO Today site and going forward, we’re asking you to go there to post reviews. The Vendor Directory is much more organized and easier to search than the Facebook group, so it will save you lots of time and be more useful. The Vendor Directory also allows vendors to respond to comments, similar to the way Yelp functions, and we think you’ll be helped by that feedback, too. (Currently, vendors aren’t allowed to place promotional posts in the Facebook group and we plan to continue that policy.)

We’ll be closing comments on posts that are strictly reviews and directing people to the Vendor Directory. We’ve made it really easy to post your comments and reviews and have added a Facebook login option in the Vendor Directory to make it as easy as possible for our awesome Facebook community!

Posts that do not explicitly ask for vendor recommendations will not be closed. These include many different types of posts, such as when members need help in solving a group problem, are looking for ideas on new activities, events or programs, or are interested in finding new ways to raise money. Sometimes, these posts will include references to vendors, but the post itself is not a stream of reviews and recommendations. We see value in these discussions because they tend to be full of tips and suggestions that are very helpful to our members. 

Promotional Posts

Since the launch of the group in April 2016, we’ve had a no-promotions policy. Even so, promotional posts appear from time to time. We do our best to moderate the group and delete these posts. Some of you report promotional posts to us—thank you! And today, we’re asking you to please keep reporting posts that appear promotional. This really is a community effort and we need your help!

We’ve also heard that some of you have been contacted via Facebook Messenger with a sales pitch. That’s absolutely not allowed. If you are contacted, please take a screenshot and send it to the admin team.

Name Change

We think it’s time to tweak the name of the group to PTO and PTA Leaders & Volunteers because it more accurately reflects the makeup of the group. We know that many group members are not on executive boards, but they’re still leaders in the broader sense of the word and play key parent volunteer roles at their schools.

Plus, we think parents and volunteers can learn a lot from veteran leaders in the group. We’re betting some of them will go on to become future PTO presidents because of the great examples the veterans set.

How Closed Is It?

We’ve heard some concerns about who can see what’s posted in the group and whether it’s “safe” to post confidential information. We are a closed group, which means only members can see your posts. But we live with the reality that anything we post online can be shared, and we’ve seen instances of people taking screenshots and sharing them outside of the group. This happens in all groups, not just this one, so we’ll follow best practice and suggest that if you have something to post that you wouldn’t want your whole school community to see, send it to us and we’ll see if we can post it anonymously for you.